At its inaugural Pax8 Beyond partner conference in Denver this week, Pax8 gave the 1,100-plus attendees a look at its new cloud marketplace for MSP partners, vendors, and customers, which will provide a fully integrated configure-price-quote (CPQ) experience across cloud, hardware, and services. The intelligent, data-driven marketplace will include an SMB prospect marketplace that will match direct buyers with partners, creating what Pax8 calls “a customer acquisition engine.” The new marketplace will also enable partners to create and manage their own storefronts for each of their customers, presenting solutions, managing billing, and providing support.
The Pax8 Cloud Marketplace will enable MSPs to import customer data from their RMM and PSA tools into a new tool called Opportunity Explorer. “This lets you see the data from across your full portfolio of customers in one simple-to-understand view,” says Scott Chasin (pictured), chief technology officer at Pax8, during Tuesday’s innovation keynote. The tool will allow MSPs to analyze gaps and opportunities for each customer, viewed through several different lenses, such as security posture.
“It can be hard sometimes to convince your customers that they need a strong security posture. We’ll expose gaps in your customer stacks through the CIS control framework,” Chasin says. “You can dig into the details on a customer-by-customer basis to really understand their specific risks. This will enable conversations in how to plug and mitigate those vulnerabilities.” The platform will also provide recommended solutions and products to mitigate those vulnerabilities, he adds.
Another major initiative for the new cloud marketplace is the integrated prospect marketplace, intended to stave off the threat of customers purchasing SaaS products direct from vendors as well as address the challenge MSPs have of acquiring new customers. “We want to be your customer acquisition engine and minimize the threat of product-led growth without the MSP,” Chasin says.
Pax8 intends to give its vendors “the opportunity to put a ‘buy now’ button on their app or homepage that integrates directly into their product-led growth strategies,” Chasin says. With consent, Pax8 will match those direct customers with MSPs in the marketplace, based on the partner’s customer preferences.
The reveal of the new Pax8 marketplace comes on the heels of the Ingram Micro’s rollout of a new marketplace offering B2C functionality that also provides the ability to purchase hardware, software, and services. Ryan Walsh, Pax8 co-founder, channel chief, and chief strategy officer, says Pax8’s user interface and the prospect marketplace are two unique differentiators.
“It’s our technology that allows the buying journey to result in the completion of an order, the provisioning of the product. Now you have in a prospect marketplace opportunity, our ability to find a matching opportunity” between buyer and partners.
Details on the ability to purchase hardware from the marketplace are still to come, Walsh says, who acknowledges that hardware is “new to us.” Hardware vendors are looking to tap into a consumption model and hardware as a service, he explains, “and so we know that as a part of that solution, we need to pull that in. … I think that’s where the puck’s going for us.”
Walsh notes that the marketplace will also enable partner-to-partner opportunities to fill in gaps in skill sets. “Why not put that together? We have to make sure it’s done in the right way. A lot of MSPs and partners might not have that trust level yet, but if we do this right, we’ll address that in a partner-to-partner marketplace opportunity. I just think that partners should think about it.”
Pax8 is offering invitational early access to a preview of the new Cloud Marketplace in the fall, with expectations that it will be available to all customers the first half of 2024, according to Chasin.
Also in the pipeline, according to Pax8, is the launch of a mobile app for the marketplace, slated to be available later this year.
In addition, security was a strong focus at Beyond, offering a half-day Security Lab that provided hands-on training on incident response, and featuring keynotes from SentinelOne and CrowdStrike. Pax8 had announced a strategic partnership with CloudStrike the first of June, which will give MSP partners access to bundled product offerings of the CrowdStrike Falcon platform, available directly on the Pax8 Marketplace; and last week added Valimail to its linecard, a provider of zero-trust email authentication, specializing in anti-phishing and email fraud protection
Pax8 is also developing a free sales training program for MSP partners’ sales teams specifically focused on cybersecurity. The initiative is being led by David Powell, who was appointed as vice president of sales strategy in April and is heading up the company’s sales strategy efforts to help partners develop, strengthen, and sell their cybersecurity offerings.
He is currently recruiting a beta group of about a dozen partners that have been screened and are willing to commit the time to the training, The beta group will be trained at their own sites, starting at the end of the month, Powell says, then the program will be a “one to many” format as part of the Pax8 Academy. “We’re going to programatize the things that we do for them [the beta group] and then we’re going to launch in late summer or fall for everybody this year.” His team will build out collateral for partners to use as well, he adds.
Pax8 Beyond, which was held at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, ends with a Q&A with former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and Pax8 CEO and founder John Street, followed by a closing party. Beyond was hosted by Rob Rae, who joined Pax8 as corporate vice president of community and ecosystems in February. Beyond will be an annual event, with registration for 2024 open now.